Final pregame looks

August, 29, 2008
8/29/08
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Because Denver, Oakland and San Diego are all not expected to play their starters much tonight, if at all, we are only going to look at one issue for each team heading into the preseason finales.

While the Chiefs were interesting all the way through the preseason because coach Herman Edwards worked key starters Thursday night, the primary goal for the other teams in the AFC West is to simply get through the final preseason game.

Denver

Hamza Abdullah: The safety has had an interesting summer. He finished last season as a starter and played weak. The team had high hopes. Yet, Abdullah suffered a groin injury on Aug. 1 and he missed two weeks. In his absence, veteran pickup Marquand Manuel played well and kept Abdullah's job when he returned. However, Manuel broke his thumb last week while covering a kickoff. He is still expected to be able to play Sept. 8 against Oakland in the season opener.

However, there are indicators Abdullah still has a chance to win his job back. If he has a good game against Arizona, Abdullah could move closer to taking his job back.

Oakland

Young receivers: Players such as Todd Watkins and Chaz Schilens could solidify their places on the 53-man rosters with good nights at Seattle. The Raiders will likely keep both players but they both could work their way into solid playing time.

Oakland will likely sign a veteran in the wake of Drew Carter's season-ending knee injury. The Raiders are thin at receiver but Watkins and Schilens have been bright spots. They both need to continue to be.

San Diego

The backup RBs: The Chargers don't need much (other than keeping their superstars healthy). This team is pretty set.

But the Chargers would like to see more quality work form backup tailbacks Darren Sproles and Jacob Hester. Both of LaDainian Tomlinson's understudies have been terrific in the preseason. It wouldn't be a surprise if neither Sproles nor Hester didn't play much at San Francisco because they have both proven they will be valuable this season.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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